NOTE: This is a full archive for the Project Community: You & The World (2013) please see the main site for the most up to date information.

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Week 8

 If I have to be honest, I cannot believe that this is our final week. I just gained confidence about my work for developing the project and suddenly this was our last chance to put all our effort to further develop our presentation. Still, I feel confident about our group work.
I think this Monday was most useful, because the topic was very interesting to me. We were talking about multi-media and audio-visual presentations and the different techniques we can use to make them more interesting to the audience. In my opinion, the thing that made me and the other group members from group 6 think about our visual outlook of the presentation were the examples shown by the teacher. This way we became aware of the mistakes we can make, i.e. the pitfalls. For example, we understood that our presentation was five minutes longer than required so we started working on making it shorter.


As usual, after the presentation we divided into smaller groups and worked on different tasks. I really liked the idea that two of the group members thought of. They decided to change the design of the presentation completely, because ours was too simple. They came up with the great idea to make it like a railway and each section of the presentation will be a train station. In my opinion, this is a very original idea and in this way it would definitely be more interesting.


Through your research, what is the one most important thing you have learned about using online communities and networks in innovative design?


Honestly, I had no idea that methods like Crowdsourcing and Crowd funding exist. The most important thing that I learned about using online communities and networks is that they are extremely useful and can only benefit you. The Internet is one enormous space, where people communicate, share ideas, videos, pictures, etc. Nowadays, almost everyone is using the internet for one reason or another. When it comes to developing a better business it is extremely important for one to have an online community, since in this way you have a bigger audience, e.g. a lot of people look for customers or investors online. I think that it is also a smart place to look for great designs, because as I already said, everyone is using the internet and online networks are one of the main places, where artists promote their work.


Considering all you have learned and experienced through our classroom time and your work for your clients, what are your design principles for designing and fostering online communities or networks?


The first thing that makes an impression on me in a website is the visual outlook. I think that it is best if it is simple, but still original. This is why one of my design principles is Simplicity.


It is also very important for me, a website to be well structured and accessible. I personally have visited a lot of websites, which have great visual outlook, but are extremely hard to use, because the information is put in the wrong place. The second design principle which I choose is Accessibility.


Last but not least – Tolerance. In my opinion, EVERYONE should listen and even if accept not, then at least tolerate the opinion of others.


My advice for next-year students? When you decide what to study, don’t consider the opinion of your parents, because when you transfer after a few weeks and you go to Project Community class, it might come as a shock to you. Just kidding.

My advice is to get to know your task and the different websites you will need as soon as possible, because then it will be much easier. At first, everything is very unclear, but when you get to know what is expected from you and when you make sure that you have asked all the relevant questions, it becomes quite easy. After all, we are not doing rocket science, and I think that if you put some effort, everything will be alright.

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During week 7 we were introduced to Marketing. It was very useful, since we discussed different…

During week 7 we were introduced to Marketing. It was very useful, since we discussed different strategies which will benefit our customer. Another thing, which we were talking about, is how to organize our thoughts and create a Storyboard. It was quite useful, especially for me, because one of the video’s that we watched, gave me good ideas on how to organize my time and duties also.

As usual, when we started with the group activity, we divided into small groups. Me and two more people were researching different marketing strategies that might benefit our NGO. We came to the conclusion, that receiving feedback is extremely important. This is why we are a bit concerned, since we still haven’t received an answer from our customer and we do not know if we fully meet his needs.

Which of the themes we’ve been looking into so far will be of the most use towards your goal of solving the unmet need of your NGO?

Give at least 3 reasons why and tell who/what you think will play a key role towards success during the process.

I will agree with my group mates, when I say that in my opinion Crowdsourcing is crucial for Solidaridad and it is most useful for solving the unmet need of our NGO, because, first of all, it is a great way to explore the opinion and ideas of a big amount of people.  This will definitely increase the site’s development, since feedback will be constantly received and it will definitely advantage and speed-up the design process.

Second of all, by giving ideas, people feel like they are being a part of a creation process and this will benefit the rate of the social network. Crowdsourcing is a way to build a strong relationship between different communities.

And last, but not least, it is much cheaper, because people use it to help each other, because they built communities, which share the same ideas and goals.

What do you think the solution should be and why?

I am not sure if this is the correct answer to this question but in my opinion, the solution is to create a website, with a simple and yet original visual outlook, which will leave a good impression on people. For me, design is very important. Nowadays so many websites exist, that you have to be different, in order for people to remember you.

It is very important the most significant information to be clearly divided into tabs on the homepage, so that everyone can easily find what he is looking for. However, as I already said, I am not sure whether this fully answers this question, since, as I already mentioned, we still haven’t received any answer from our customer and I am not 100 per cent sure what he is looking for.

On Monday we were arguing, whether we will manage to meet our customer’s need or not. Some consider that we will actually fail. Nevertheless, I am an optimist and I truly believe that in a couple of days this desired moment will come and we will finally hear from our customer and we will know for sure what to do, in order to do our job the best way we can. 

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On Monday, during week 6, me and my groupmates met 15 minutes before class, to discuss the issues of…

On Monday, during week 6, me and my groupmates met 15 minutes before class, to discuss the issues of our group. I found it very useful, because everyone shared their opinion on how to improve our team work and all misunderstandings were cleared. We also discussed about the new visual outlook of the presentation. I think that we did a good job, since we completed our tasks and took some new decisions about the project.

Now that you have explored crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, reflect on your sense of the usefulness of these options. What do you see as the pros and cons of crowdsourcing in design? Give your reasons for your responses.

The idea of crowdsourcing is to get work done by a ‘crowd’ of workers. Since it is usually made online, the results might be very interesting, because a great group of people will have some kind of impact for further development. When using crowdsourcing for design, a task is given to a crowd of designers and they have a set deadline. They must create a finished design especially for their customer and he gets to choose from a huge variety. It is an advantage for the customer, since he has the opportunity to find exactly what he is looking for. It is especially convenient for small businesses, because it is far cheaper.

I think that another great advantage is that it saves a lot of time and extra expenses. The customer just needs to type in a crowdsourcing website the criteria for their product and then they will start receiving a lot of diverse offers. It is motivating many artists to generate ideas and create great designs. However, there is one huge disadvantage for them – after spending hours on creating the perfect design, a lot of people will not receive any money for their work, since they do not get hired.

A very useful thing for artists, who do not have enough funds and wish to develop their ideas, is Crowdfunding. By raising small amount of money from a large number of people, designers, musicians, filmmakers, etc. can make their idea come true. The creator has complete control over his project and is fully responsible for its development.

A great crowdfuning website is Kickstarter. It is created to support any kinds of projects related to Arts, Fashion, Design, Photography, Publishing and many more. Anyone can launch a project on Kickstarter as long as he/she meets their guidelines.

The ‘Love shack’ of Dana Jo Cooley really impressed me. It is bus stop, created by the influence of b’25 song. The idea of the artist is for it to be "a little ole’ place to get together," and wait for the bus.

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My personal opinion about crowdsourcing and crowdfunding websites are definitely very useful, since they not only motivate people to create, but also inspire others. After reading about the Love shack, I started to think of ideas on how to do something similar in my own country and when if I come up with a good idea, I would definitely consider using crowdfunding.  

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This post was originally published at the Project Community blog: Chocolate brownies and cookies

My own week 3: Developing your technology knowledge & your digital identity

Do you remember Dangerous Dave? If this picture brings up memories, you most probably also spent hours on playing one of the first ‘adventure’ games. The mission was to collect trophies trough ten levels. I was playing this game on the first computer that I had at home and at school. I could say that this was my first interaction with computers. I remember, that I was very young when we first had internet at home. It was connected via the phone (dial-up) and you couldn’t, talk and surf on the internet at the same time. Ever since I was little, my father showed me how to do different things on the computer. I found it very amusing to write letters to myself on Word and later print them.

Later on, I started having IT classes at school and gained wider knowledge of Microsoft Office. We spent a lot of time on making Power Point presentations, and I might say that I now I am quite good at it. We also paid a lot of attention to Microsoft Excel.

I use my computer mainly for social networking, internet and for different programs, like Picasa, Microsoft Office Picture Manager and Corel Draw to edit my pictures. I can do interesting effects on photographs, but I wouldn’t say that I am professional. There is a lot more to learn. I have always found Photoshop very interesting, but if I have to be honest, it is very hard for me to use it. This is one of the programs that I want to learn how to use, because it is very useful for creating photos with amazing effects and also for designing an impressive visual outlook.

I could say that I am good at using computers, i.e. an advanced user, however there is still a lot of room of improvement. I like that in group 6 – a lot of the members use programs I have never even heard of. This this way I will be able to learn how to use new programs, thus improve my skills. Later on, whenever I want to do – I will know which program it is best to do it with. I really appreciate the fact that I can learn from my group mates. As I already said, I am not a computer genius, but I am willing to learn, and I know that I will, since computers have virtually become part of my life.

An ‘online tool’ which I often use is Facebook. I find it convenient, since everyone from group 6 has an account there and we often share files and information related to the Solidaridad project. I think that the posts support our group work, because everyone can refer to them at any time. Another advantage are the privacy settings which allow everything to be shared only with the members of the group.

What can you do or what do you know about the other groups “unmet needs” they have defined for their NGO?

I read on the Project Community website that group 9 has to develop a ‘Personal Branding’ strategy using social networks, which I believe means that every employee will need to represent himself (present his Personal Brand) via social networks.

Can your expertise be of use to them?

The only thing that I believe I can do for the members of group 9 is torecommend them to use the knowledge gained during the Personal Branding classes. I think they should first advise the employees to define their skills (gifts, passions, and purposes), their target audience and how they differ from others.

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My introduction week?

The activities done in week 2

On 9 September 2013 while I was in a completely different part of the university, my classmates were being introduced to the purpose of Project Communities and to the Non-Governmental Organization - Solidaridad. They discussed the different websites that we were going to use, like Facebook, Tumblr, Blackboard, etc. I regret, that I missed this day, because I felt lost when I had to deal on my own with them, especially the blogging part. Thanks God my classmates were patient enough to answer all my questions.

Another important thing that they talked about were the four major themes which were going to be taught during the course – Teamwork, NGOs and Millennium Development Goals, Online communities/systems, and Sustainable Solutions.

I transferred from International Communication Management to Industrial Design Engineering one week ago. On Monday, which was actually my first day as a student of this study program, I attended Project Communities classes. I met my classmates from Group 6 and they introduced me to the Solidaridad project. If I have to be honest, at first I felt a bit confused, because everything was absolutely new for me and I didn’t know anything about Solidaridad. Now, however, since I am already involved in the working process, I can say that I feel a bit more confident. I try to keep up with the other group members, because I don’t want them to treat me like ‘the new girl, who can’t do anything’.

How do I understand our class goals? I think that our major goal is to become open innovators, who will easily co-work with others in a group and thanks to modern technology and different networks – we will be able to provide our potential customer with a successful solution.  Our main task is to become a really bond group in which ideas and opinions are shared and discussed. I think that if we are all dedicated to our tasks and give our best – we will come up with a worthy solution.

What do you need and want to learn as you/we explore the different themes from application of online communities and networks to open innovation design?

I should definitely gain more knowledge in the area in which our customers’ business is – Sustainable Agricultural Development. I find it very interesting since this is an issue concerning the whole world basically. Feeding the constantly growing world population is an issue I have often thought about and this is why I like that I am part of this project.

Another thing which I would like to know more about are the Drupal Commons, because honestly speaking, this is the first time that I hear about something like this and it seems as a useful thing, since it can facilitate the complicated use of code writing (HTML).

What would you like the outcome of your team’s project to look like?

As I already mentioned, I started this study program a bit later than the others, so I have a clear picture of the outcome of our project. In my opinion, the design of the presentation looks impressive, since the design is simple, yet interesting, and the information is very well structured. However, there are some things that still need to be added and I would like to be as much useful, as I can. I am grateful for the work that my classmates have done so far.

I do my best to keep up with the working process and to also have an impact on the final result of the project. And I won’t lie – I will really feel good if we win, but as I already mentioned, we have to do our best.

What “specialty quality” will you bring and contribute?

I don’t know whether this is a ‘specialty quality’, but I noticed that not all of the members are really dedicated to this project, so I will try to motivate them one way or another. I think that if we try to encourage one another to work harder, the effects in the end will be better.

Another thing that I might have a positive effect on is the design of our presentation. I really enjoy making Power Point presentations (despite the fact that our presentation is on Prezi), and I think that the visual look has a significant effect on the audience.

In conclusion, I started an interesting adventure, by suddenly transferring to IDE, and I think that I finally ended at the right boat. I like our working atmosphere, and I think that it is a great place for generating ideas.

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A few ideas on how to increase the productivity of a particular group

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My second meeting with Group 6 was on the 30 September 2013. We were discussing the significance of the number of people in a group and what effect it might have on the efficiency of the work. As a new member of Group 6, I still have limited observation on the team-work, but as far as I am concerned, there are few things that I think we could do better.

What I really like about Group 6 is that we are a big group of people from all over the world. The fact that we all have different backgrounds creates a very productive and creative atmosphere. It provides a diversity of ideas, opinions and viewpoints. If I have to be honest, I am not sure, whether I met everyone from the group, but we are supposed to be nine people. Since we are a big group I think that it would be best if we divide to small groups, working on different tasks. I think that our group number is a big benefit for us, because when we divide our work between the members, we are more concentrated and work faster. This way we finish faster with our work and have some spare time left.

It would be a good idea for us to share our skills and gifts to the other group members. This way we will be sure what is the best way to divide our tasks, who to work in a group with and how to increase the efficiency of our work. On Monday we did not proceed this way and still managed to finish what we had to, but I think we could have completed our task better. In my opinion, this is an important thing that we need to discuss in the group.

A bit challenging for me is the lack of communication. What I don’t like about our group discussions, is that they are very chaotic and a lot of the times some of the members interrupt others and don’t consider different opinions than theirs. In my opinion, when we start a discussion, we should listen to each other and actually discuss our tasks. Everyone should share their opinion with the other group members, in order for us to make a list with the best ideas and then summarize them at the end. There were also other situations, in which no one actually knew what we should do or discuss and everyone was just chatting. I think we should be a bit more dedicated to our tasks and please don’t get me wrong - as I already said, if we do it, we will have all the time in the world for a sweet chit-chat and maybe even a cup of coffee.

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The mystery of writing your first blog

In today’s modern world we have the great advantage of using the Internet. People do it for different purposes – for ones it is a convenient source of information, other’s use it to get in touch with their friends and families. It is interesting how social networks become the ‘meeting point’ for a lot of people, who share different ideas or purposes. It also gathers diverse people, who don’t know each other, but share the same interests.

A few days ago I become a member of a bounded group in one of the most popular social networks – Facebook. It is called New Open Innovators (IDE) and also serves as a place for students to meet, share stories and events, ask questions, etc. Recently I changed my study program and transferred from International Communication Management to Industrial Design Engineering and since I started a few weeks later than my classmates, this was the place where I first introduced myself and talked to some of them. I think that this group was very useful for me, because I was a bit scared at first and after talking to some people, who have already been through this, I gained confidence.

Facebook is the social network, which I use most often. In my opinion, it is the most comfortable one, since almost everybody uses it and it is the easiest way to keep in touch with everyone no matter where in the world they are. We live in an intercultural society and meet with people from different countries. The only way to stay somehow connected is through social networks. By sharing photos, videos, stories and comments people present themselves and what is going on in their lives. One way to see how your friends are doing and what have they been up to is by looking at the photos they uploaded or by reading the statuses they posted.

 Facebook and the other social networks like My Space, Google+, etc. have fundamentally changed what it means “to be together”. In my case, for example, the communication with my boyfriend is done mainly by Facebook and Skype. Since he lives 2000 km away, this is our only way for fast and very cheap communication.  I think that as a social network Facebook is valuable for me, because I have met a lot of people from all over the world and this is one way to keep our connection.

Another reason why it is quite valuable for me now is because it is going to be one of the main ways that I’m going to catch up with the things I have to prepare for the university. I recently joined Group 6 : Solidaridad Network Project, which is created only for the members of a specific group who already know each other and have the same goals. Particularly in this case it is for sharing information regarding a certain project. It is a very useful group, since everyone can give ideas for further development here and the information will reach to all the members. It is also a convenient place for discussing and giving feedback on one’s work.

Honestly speaking, I prefer bounded groups, because I am not really keen on communicating with strangers through the Internet, unless we are discussing a certain topic, which I find interesting. My networks consist of people, who I have met in person, but when it comes to searching general information it expands and becomes a boundaryless worldwide network. 

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